“Vulnerable Grey Market”

It is over a year ago that I last wrote about some of my concerns about the selling of mobility equipment to vulnerable older people.  (See

There is vast potential for this market to be preyed upon by unscrupulous salesmen.

Now it appears that at the very same time that I was writing the blog, Derbyshire Trading Standards were investigating the miss-selling of mobility scooters after a host of complaints about  REO Marketing Limited.

The company sold scooters, stair lifts, beds and wheelchairs over a wide area of England.

Their aggressive sales techniques included:-

  • Long sales visits to people’s’ homes;
  • Exploiting health problems;
  • Falsely claiming to carry out surveys as an excuse for sales visits;
  • Offering discounts for immediate orders placed

The two Directors of the company were jailed for 3 and 4 years each, but after pleading guilty they will, no doubt, be out in half that time.  I am sure that does not reflect the loss and distress they caused to many of their elderly customers.  I believe this example is just the tip of a very big iceberg of exploitation of older people in their own homes.

As the grey market expands, there will be many more examples like this in the future.  Elderly people who can’t get out to shop, don’t have the skills to use the internet and have no close relatives to advise them – they are very vulnerable to this type of exploitation.

Trading Standards are only ever able to lock the stable door after the event.  We need properly “kite marked” and trusted organisations.

ELDERLY  BUYER   BEWARE !

A quick search of Google using “exploiting the elderly in the UK” threw up three million results !

Products highlighted included:-

  • Energy sales
  • Home insurance
  • Retirement housing
  • Will writing
  • Financial services
  • Doorstep sales
  • Double glazing

Footnote:  Between a third and half of all cases of elder abuse cases in America involve financial exploitation.

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3 Responses to “Vulnerable Grey Market”

  1. You snake oil saleman you? What do you wish me to buy common sense??? in bucket loads. I find as I drift nearer to those pearly gates, I wish some one to take the load or burden of life? But wait, I still have to fight for myself and others, and while I have the will, and the wish too, then I am willing others to fight? But wait I hear you say where is the trust in people, especially those younger than us oldies? Was it like this when we where young? I suppose so for the unscupulous few, but then it is really like life! Anything is worth fighting for like life! And Trust is a two way gift and when honoured it is magic!!! and it is the food of the gods.

    • john graham says:

      Oh dear :-[ Next time I get on a ship, I am going to admit to being a “little” overweight for the voyage. I guess I’ll be surcharged for excess baggage. What’s more my life will be at risk from those flimsy life jackets !
      Thanks for that cheery information David, I may never sail again.

      AND A HAPPY NEW YEAR TO YOU

  2. capital237 says:

    Dear John You sail close to the wind every time you push a few keys on your blogg, But with your shirt wide open blowing gallently like a Top sail, and your as you show your hairy chest, I have the image-You Superman!!! Happy New Year to you and yours.

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